Jetty Pier of an beautiful Island, Caribbean

Discover Costa Rica & Panama

14 days
from
$4,199 USD
incl. taxes
View Trips
Loading...
Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
AUU
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
6–16
Min age:
16

Highlights of Central America from Costa Rica to Panama

This busy itinerary takes us through some of the highlights of Central America. Costa Rica's tropical climate supports a range of ecosystems including dense jungle, cloud forest, coastline and a handful of active volcanoes. The result is a paradise bursting with wildlife and tropical verdant scenery. From the Bocas del Toro Islands, a stunning archipelago with a lively Caribbean culture, to the Panama Canal, one of the world’s most impressive feats of engineering, and the vibrant capital Panama City. 

Highlights

  • Navigate the waterways of Costa Rica's Tortuguero N.P.
  • Pacific beaches and the idyllic Caribbean islands of Bocas del Toro
  • Discover the Panama Canal, see the colossal Miraflores Locks in action

Key information

  • Travel by private minibus, boat, ferry and internal flight
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus local leader and guides 
  • 13 nights comfortable hotels
  • Countries visited: Central America, Costa Rica, Panama

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 2 dinners included
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Specialist local guides
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Single accommodation (available on request - see dates & prices)
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

San Jose
to
Panama City
  • Day 1

    Start San Jose

    Those on the group flights usually arrive into San Jose this evening and will be transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. There will be the opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

    Accommodation: Balmoral Hotel (or similar)

     

  • Day 2

    Visit Palo Verde National Park; to La Anita Rainforest Ranch close to the region of Rincon de la Vieja.

    After breakfast we transfer to La Anita Rainforest Ranch, stopping at Palo Verde National Park en route.

    Palo Verde is one of the greatest wetland areas of Costa Rica, named after the Palo Verde tree with its green trunk and beautiful yellow flowers. The region combines tropical dry forest with rivers, mangroves and wetlands which creates a wonderful habitat for birdlife. On a boat excursion you'll likely see Roseate spoonbills and the Jabiru stork, one of the largest birds in Central America. 

    We continue to La Anita Rainforest Ranch, which is nestled in a small valley between the Miravalles, Rincon de la Vieja and Santa Maria Volcanoes and surrounded by an incredible explosion of biodiversity; hidden amidst the dense rainforest live a vast number of species to delight any nature lover. A wide variety of produce is also grown on the property, including cocoa, heart of palm and cardamom as well as tropical fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and flowers. 

    Accommodation: La Anita Rainforest Ranch (or similar)

     

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Organic Chocolate tour at La Anita Cacao Farm

    La Anita is the only farm in Costa Rica owned by a Costa Rican family who produce their own organic cacao. Today we have an organic chocolate tour, starting with the cacao pods that grow here, guiding you through the chocolate making process and ending with a tasting session of the famous dark chocolate. In this region the climate supports several varieties of cacao growing in the midst of rainforest and volcanoes - it is a wonderful setting to learn about one of Costa Rica’s tastiest traditions made by a producer committed to using sustainable practices. Save some room as lunch will be provided at the ranch following this chocolate tour! The rest of the day is free to explore the farm, take a walk to discover the local village or other optional activities.

    Accommodation: La Anita Rainforest Ranch (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Free day at La Anita Rainforest Ranch.

    Today is a free day to learn about the history of the region, relax and enjoy the surroundings. There are various optional excursions to choose from which can all be organised and booked locally - hikes at Miravalles or Rincon de la Vieja, or traditional cooking classes. 

    Accommodation: La Anita Rainforest Ranch (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    To La Fortuna, near Arenal Volcano; optional visit Ecotermales Hot Springs.

    Today we travel to the small town of La Fortuna, near Arenal Volcano. Arenal was Costa Rica's most active volcano until fairly recently, when it entered a resting phase and can no longer be seen spitting ash, smoke or lava. However there is still a lot of geothermal activity in the area and you'll have the opportunity to visit one of the excellent hot springs this evening. In clear weather there are great views of the volcano from our overnight base in La Fortuna.

    Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Visit Arenal Volcano N.P., La Fortuna Waterfall and Don Juan Farm; afternoon for optional activities

    There is a guided hike this morning through Arenal Volcano National Park. The park has a great system of trails passing through secondary forest and near lava fields created by previous eruptions. The high vantage points on this walk allow great views overlooking Lake Arenal, and the birdlife is plentiful. We include a visit to La Fortuna Waterfall and Don Juan Farm today, where lunch is provided along with a tour of the organic farm. The rest of the afternoon is free to sign up for an optional activity, such as the Sky Walk (canopy walk) or Sky Trek (zip wire) excursions.  

    Accommodation: Arenal Montechiari Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    To Tortuguero N.P.

    This morning we set off to the north-east of Costa Rica to Tortuguero National Park. Accessible only by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero's vast network of waterways, canals and swamps is remarkably tranquil, unspoilt and devoid of noise pollution. On reaching the pier we board a small motorboat for the one hour fifteen minute journey to our lodge, which is nestled on a small strip of land between the Caribbean Sea and the main lagoon. Our afternoon is spent in Tortuguero village, where it’s possible to visit the Sea Turtle Museum (a donation will be requested at the entrance). Tortuguero is probably most famous as a nesting site for the endangered Green turtle, which can be seen arriving onto the beach to lay eggs from late July to October (as part of an optional excursion). Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Giant Leatherback turtles also nest in this region, and during November to January baby turtles start to hatch and make their way towards the ocean.

    Accommodation: Laguna Lodge (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Boat tour around Tortuguero waterways.

    An early morning boat trip enables us to discover the extraordinary flora and fauna of Tortuguero, passing serenely along the waterways. At this time of day wildlife is usually at its most active and with the help of our expert guide we are likely to encounter monkeys, caiman, iguanas, butterflies and many of the 300+ bird species recorded here. We return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast by the river. The lodge is a tranquil spot to relax this afternoon if you want to take some time out to enjoy the facilities, or alternatively you can join a second boat trip (included), visit the beach or follow a short walking trail through the forest.

    Accommodation: Laguna Lodge (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    To the Caribbean coast.

    We leave Tortuguero by taking a small boat to the pier. Our bus will be at the pier waiting to drive us to the Caribbean coast, where we check into our hotel located in Puerto Viejo. Caribbean culture pervades this part of Costa Rica and is reflected in the music, food and laid-back lifestyle. Cahuita’s famous white-sand beach is fringed by tall palms, behind which the dense, wet tropical forest of Cahuita National Park is located.

    Accommodation: Namuwoki or Ciudad Perdida Eco-Lodge (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 10

    Cross into Panama; to Bocas del Toro islands.

    Our journey continues alongside vast banana plantations, crossing the border on the banks of the Sixaola River and entering into Panama. We transfer through the frontier town of Changuinola and then through steep rainforest hills which are inhabited by indigenous people. Once we arrive at the coast we board a shuttle boat taxi to cross the Caribbean to the wonderful Bocas del Toro Islands, our home for the next two nights.

    Accommodation: Playa Tortuga (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Free day in Bocas del Toro for optional activities.

    Today has been left free to explore the beautiful Bocas del Toro Islands, which are rapidly becoming a popular destination in the Caribbean. Today you will get a chance to see why: spectacular palm-shaded white sand beaches, crystal clear water and lots of wildlife and kayaking. It's possible to take a boat trip to discover the surrounding islands too. This activity can be arranged locally.

    Accommodation: Playa Tortuga (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Morning to Boquete; afternoon coffee plantation tour.

    After taking a shuttle boat taxi back to the mainland, we drive into the mountains that separate Panama's two coastlines. The change in temperature, humidity and eco-systems is significant as we gain altitude. Our destination is the small village of Boquete, nestled in the highlands and well known for its beautiful scenery, nice weather and high quality coffee. We should arrive at our hotel just before lunch. Afterwards, we have a coffee tour to discover this regions most famous crop: Arabica coffee beans. From gathering beans in the plantation by the expert hands of Ngobe Indians to roasting, you will learn everything about the best coffee in the world!

    Accommodation: Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Fly to Panama City; visit Casco Viejo and the Panama Canal.

    From Boquete we take a short transfer to David, where we take a domestic flight with Air Panama to Panama City. This flight takes around 45 minutes and has been included to avoid an otherwise long bus transfer. On arrival into Panama City we have a guided tour of the old town, known as Casco Viejo, with its numerous colonial monuments and churches. This interesting area of the city is gradually being restored and is lovely to wander around, with the modern city skyline as a contrasting backdrop. This afternoon we visit the Panama Canal to see the spectacular 'Miraflores Locks' in action - marvel at this incredible feat of modern engineering as you watch huge cargo ships navigate the locks.

    Accommodation: Tryp by Wyndham Panama Centro (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Panama City.

    The trip comes to an end today after breakfast and it's time to bid the rest of the group goodbye. Transfers to the airport are included for those on the group flights today.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Costa Rica

Holders of British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports can enter Costa Rica for a stay of 90 days without a visa. Proof of onward travel may be required when entering Costa Rica - we suggest you take a print out of your flight details in case officials ask to see them. All passengers flying via the USA will have to clear immigration during transit. Prior to travel you must apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (USD14) under the Visa Waiver Programme. Please see here for more information. The same applies to travel via Canada which also requires an Electronic Travel Authority. If you are not a UK citizen please check with your local U.S. Embassy. 

Panama

Most nationalities, including Holders of British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports can enter Panama for 90 days without a visa.

Vaccinations

Costa Rica

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements, however, if you have travelled to a country at risk of Yellow Fever prior to arriving in Costa Rica you will be required to have a valid Yellow Fever Certificate with you. Recommended vaccinations are: Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Panama

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for this trip. Recommended vaccinations for this trip are: Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria on this trip is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 2 dinners included

Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet style. Rice and Beans tends to dominate the cusine of Costa Rica, and can be found for breakfast as the local speciality called “Gallo Pinto”, lunch and dinner – accompanied by a portion of meat and salad. Soups and stews are also common, and fresh fruits are abundant and will no doubt be one of the highlights of your time in the tropics. In Panamá, most dishes have a mixture of Caribbean, African and Spanish flavours. Fish, lentils, shrimps, stews and plantains make up a big part of the local diet. Tropical fruits are also easily available.

Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.

Weather

Costa Rica and Panama lie between 5º and 15º north of the equator, and have an almost perfect tropical climate. The average temperature is 10 - 13ºC in the highlands, and 22 - 28ºC in the lowlands. There is a rainy season from May to October when there may be daily downpours, though these are usually quite short and there is still plenty of bright sunshine. November to April is the driest time of the year but you should still expect some rain - particularly in the cloud forests. August offers moderate temperatures.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)

Most of the driving distances are short, but some of the roads can be of poor quality which may occasionally result in slower driving times than expected. There are several included and optional walks on the itinerary which occasionally involve walking on rough paths. These are suitable for most levels of fitness and usually last from two to three hours. During times of heavy rain, trails can be muddy and slippery and extra care should be taken. Many of the areas visited on the trip are hot and humid and there is the chance of heavy rain year-round. 

Please note that in the region of Tortuguero the sea has very strong rip currents and is not suitable for swimming from the beach. 

Please note that we require some details from you at least two months prior to departure in order to organise the internal flight with Air Panama. You will be required to provide us with your passport details including your full name, nationality and date of birth. This information will be given to the airline at the point of the tickets being booked and must match the passport that you are using to travel with. Please contact our Customer Operations team to provide these details.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Lodges

We have 13 nights in a variety of colonial, rustic and modern–contemporary properties, all with en suite facilities.

Most of the accommodations that we use are small establishments offering a warm welcome and relaxing surroundings.

Optional single supplement available, please see dates & prices.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

Be the first to post your review! If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then simply use the link below to post your holiday review.

Dates & Prices

Trips you might also like